Baikal Trench

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Map of the Baikal Rift Zone from the USGS

The Baikal Trench or the Baikal Rift Zone is a diverging plate boundary under Lake Baikal in southern Siberia in Russia . Over millions of years it developed from a weak zone to a rift valley , and continues to widen and deepen by about two centimeters per year. The zone was created by the drifting apart of the Eurasian plate and the Amur plate , caused by the collision with the Indian plate located far to the south , which pushes the plates apart like a wedge. The Amur plate moves four millimeters per year towards Japan .

The crack is about 1,600 kilometers long, almost six kilometers deep and filled with sediment. Therefore, Lake Baikal “only” extends to a depth of 1642 meters.

As with all rift fractures, the crust under Lake Baikal is relatively thin, which means that there are thermal springs both on land and under Lake Baikal, although no evidence of volcanism in the immediate vicinity of the lake has yet been found. However, in recent times, on a geological scale, volcanic activity has occurred that can be attributed to the Baikal Rift Zone. These volcanic centers are the Udokan Plateau about 400 kilometers northeast of the northern tip of Lake Baikal, the Oka Plateau about 200 kilometers northwest of the southwestern tip of Lake Baikal and the Witim Plateau about 200 kilometers east of the rift zone.

Individual evidence

  1. Udokan Plateau , Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution
  2. ^ Oka Plateau , Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution
  3. Vitim Plateau , Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution